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Expedition 31 Welcomes Three New Crewmates
Expedition 31

The six-member Expedition 31 crew from left to right are (front row) Flight Engineers Sergei Revin, Gennady Padalka and Joe Acaba and (back row) Flight Engineer Don Pettit, Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers. Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz TMA-04M

The Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft carrying Expedition 31 Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka, Joseph Acaba and Sergei Revin is moments from docking to the station's Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 31 crew members Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin were welcomed aboard the International Space Station after the hatches opened Thursday at 4:10 a.m. EDT. They docked to the Poisk module at 12:36 a.m. after a two day journey that began in Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft.

› Read more about the launch

After a series of leak and pressure checks, Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers welcomed their new crewmates.

The new trio joined the crew for a greeting ceremony and conference with family and mission officials then conducted a safety briefing afterwards. It is now back to business for the current station residents while their newly arrived crew mates begin several days of familiarization tasks as they adjust to life aboard the orbital laboratory.

The docking occurred on Acaba’s 45th birthday. He previously visited the station in March 2009 aboard space shuttle Discovery as an STS-119 mission specialist. This is Padalka’s fourth long-duration spaceflight and his third aboard the station. His first mission was aboard Russian Space Station Mir. Revin is making his first trip into space.

Padalka is due to become Expedition 32 commander when Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers undock July 1 in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft after a six-month stay officially ending Expedition 31. Expedition 32 will be complemented two weeks later when it is joined by Flight Engineers Suni Williams, Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide.

› Read more about Expedition 31